Words or Outcomes: Which is Most Important?

Today’s announcement of President Obama winning the Nobel Peace Prize took me and many other people by surprise. Historically, most of us believed that this was an award of accomplishment, recognizing tangible outcomes in the world’s peace movements. In this case, it appears to have been awarded based on promises and words instead.

Now this is not a post about political viewpoints. Instead the announcement made me start thinking about the business world and how recognition occurs for many of us in corporate jobs. I’m not alone in finding that there are times when words and promises become far more important than outcomes, am I? This bothers me. I’m amazed at how many organizations don’t have the right metrics in place to determine the success or failure of marketing campaigns, product launches or productivity initiatives. There might be revenue targets associated with products or productivity but not much more. What tracking mechanisms are in place to determine progress being made? Are there gates in place where the company does a check and correct, adjusting mid-course if necessary to ensure that the programs are successful?

Am I wrong in believing that outcomes should be the ultimate goal? Or do I need to change my opinion and begin thinking in terms of words and promises? What do you think?


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